The name Miley Cyrus tends to conjure groans and eye rolls from most people these days, and with good reason. Miley has spent her early twenties shocking the world with her outrageous behavior, shockingly sexually explicit performances, and outspoken, in your face politics. To be honest, most people (me included) just couldn’t stand her new persona. We found ourselves asking, “What happen to the sweet girl from Tennessee?”
I was older by the time the Hannah Montana craze hit the scene, but my kid sister absolutely adored the show and her music, and therefore I was forced to sit through several episodes during that time. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing the show, I just wasn’t interested in it because I wasn’t a little girl/preteen. That being said, I had no issue with Miley and she seemed to be on the right track when it came to making her career work. I also didn’t blame her for wanting to break out of the Hannah Montana mold that everyone tried to encase her in and try new things. I actually liked her Can’t Be Tamed record……. But sadly, things took a very drastic, shocking turn. The last few years have found Miley doing or saying one shocking thing after another. She seemed to have spiraled right out of control, but even then, I can’t say that I hated her like some did/do. I felt sorry for her. I can’t imagine dealing with the pressures of fame at such a young age (or really at all!). I believe Miley was desperately trying to find herself and figure out who she truly is. I think she was a very confused person, maybe still is. I don’t know what’s going on in her mind, but I do see this new song and era as a turning point for her.
“Malibu” seems to be marking a shift in Miley’s career. While promoting the new single, Miley has stated that she has been sober for a number of months now and that she wants to reach out to the people who find her a bit scary, particularly the country music crowd. She seems to have found some healing and is in the process of getting her act together. The most asseverating thing about the train wreck that was Miley Cyrus, is the fact that she CAN actually SING. She has a beautiful voice and she’s also a good songwriter in her own right. There was really no need for the drastic tactics Miley resorted to.
Let’s get to the song: “Malibu” is so incredibly refreshing. It’s a simple but unique song that is structured differently than the usual formula. A lot of people are saying this is Miley Cyrus going Country…… Guys, this isn’t a country song. It’s a pop song with a dialed back production featuring an acoustic guitar. Don’t get me wrong, I’d actually be very interested in a country record from Miley, but this isn’t it. There’s something very warm and soothing about this song, much like a lazy day on the beach. I’ve had it on repeat since I downloaded it. “Malibu” is a simple yet beautiful love song. It’s about finding contentment and peace in her relationship, and I think, ultimately her life. She’s growing and maturing.
“Malibu” has made me interested in the full album, which has yet to be named. I look forward to hearing more from this Miley. ;)
Fresh off being recognized on nearly every “One to Watch” list for 2017 including Rolling Stone’s “10 New Country Artists You need To Know,” Runaway June is without a doubt the most important new group to hit country music. At a time when the “Group” section in the genre’s award shows is… well… meager, it’s refreshing to know that there is at least one new group making headway in the genre. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Runaway June, the trio is comprised of three talented women: Lead singer/guitarist Naomi Cooke, singer/mandolin picker Hannah Mulholland, and singer/guitarist Jennifer Wayne. The trio couples their beautiful three-part harmonies with a very organic country sound (you won’t hear synthesizers here) and original lyrics with modern themes.
Runaway June just recently released a brand new song, “Wild West”, which is presumed to be their next single. “Wild West” is a sweet and slow love song that uses imagery from the Wild West, such as Jesse James, Outlaws, the prairie, and a pearl-handled .45. The female narrator is asking for a man who will ride onto the scene, steal her heart and save the day like in the Wild West. The song opens with, “Baby you could steal my heart like Jesse James/ or come in guns blazing just like ol’ John Wayne”, and continues with the western theme with verses like, “hold me tight like a pearl-handled .45” and “I wanna feel like we jumped a train to Santa Fe/ like we’re desperados makin’ our getaway”. The chorus rounds out the continuing theme with, “Love me like the wild, wild, wild west/ Ride me off in the sunset/ Outlaws makin’ a run for it/ Come on boy, be my cowboy.”
I have to say, I really love this song and no, not just because it references the Duke…. Though that does help! ;) But in all seriousness, there have been plenty of songs that have referenced John Wayne in which I didn’t like, simply because I either felt the song wasn’t good enough to reference him or because it referenced him in the wrong way. As a huge Duke fan and someone who has studied the legend for years, I’m always tickled when I hear the legend referenced in a good song, and quite frankly I can’t think of a more fitting song than “Wild West”. For one, the song is all about western imagery and well known western figures, which fit John Wayne’s own imagine, as he is best known for his westerns and cowboy imagine. The other and probably most interesting reason it’s so fitting that “Wild West” references the legend’s name is the fact that Jennifer Wayne is actually the legendary actor’s granddaughter! ***Let’s all take a minute to be jealous***
John Wayne reference aside, “Wild West” is a really great song. It touches on age old themes all the while keeping the sound and lyrics fresh and organic. You’ll definitely want to put this one your playlist. ;) I look forward to hearing a full album from Runaway June.